Huge Spike in Bicycle Accidents Forces Carlsbad Leaders to Take Action

Bicycle and e-bike accidents have risen so sharply in Carlsbad, California that city officials declared a state of emergency within the city this summer. The emergency declaration cited a 233% yearly increase in bike accidents, some of which involved serious injuries or death.

Local news outlet KUSI detailed the consequences of the declaration.

With the declaration, Carlsbad City Manager Scott Chadwick has called on resources from the city’s police, fire, transportation and community education departments to develop action plans to be presented to the City Council Aug. 30, followed by a comprehensive plan on Sept. 27.

According to the city, an emergency declaration allows the city to reallocate resources, expedite certain actions and temporarily bypass lengthy processes to address an existing or imminent threat. The official declaration covers the safety of bicycles, e-bikes and other motorized devices, which could include electric scooters and motorized skateboards.

“This is an issue that affects every single member of our community, and it will take all of us working together to make our streets safer,” Chadwick said.

Now, additional data has come to light providing more context on the cycling problems in Carlsbad.

Learning from Data Analysis of Local Accidents

Local newspaper the Del Mar Times recently analyzed data from each of the 249 bicycle and e-bike accidents cited by Carlsbad leaders within their state of emergency declaration. This analysis was able to uncover some key trends.

  • 40% of all accidents occurred on the coastline west of I-5. The area around Carlsbad Village alone accounted for 25% of all accidents.
  • E-bike accidents are surging. In 2019, e-bikes only accounted for about 11% of accidents. Last year, that number was more than 50%.
  • Automobiles were involved in roughly half of all bike and e-bike accidents. The automobile driver was found responsible for the collision in the majority of cases.
  • The most common accident types were sideswipe, broadside collision, rear end collision and hit object, with the rest of the accidents falling into a more varied “other” category.
  • Accidents were fairly well distributed over days of the week, although Saturdays saw twice as many accidents as Monday.
  • Speed, improper turning, right of way violations and other unsafe behavior were responsible for 2 of every 3 accidents, according to traffic data.

The Takeaway

Carlsbad civic leaders have taken an important first step in the battle for less dangerous streets. Armed with contextual data, and the ability to reallocate resources via emergency declaration, the city now has the tools it needs to keep cyclists, motorists and pedestrians safe.

Finding the Right Bicycle Accident Attorney

Gary Brustin is a lifelong cyclist and a specialist in bicycle accident law. In fact, these are the only types of cases he accepts. If you’ve been injured in a collision, we urge you to contact Gary for a complimentary consultation.

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